The ‘Mom’ Birthday
by Blair Armstrong
Pull up a chair younguns’….. let me tell you a little something about what birthdays can be like when you’re a 34-year old-mom. Y’now, the ‘mom birthday.’ I was reminded this morning that a crucial part of parenting is aboutchanging your life expectations…birthdays are certainly no exception. In fact, that should be Chapter One in the New Mom Handbook. The chapter should be called, Your Kids Probably Don’t Give A Crap That It’s Your Birthday. They May Even Find It Upsetting. I know, it’s a long title. I’ll work on it.
Mom birthdays for some newly 30-something people might be super. Maybe you get a few spa treatments, or have a peaceful day of responding to happy birthday messages while you relax on the sofa with your favorite movie. Maybe you leaf through old photos with a glass of wine while you nostalgically reflect on years gone by…whatever it is that spins your wheels, you fill in the blank. Maybe that’s what you’ll get to do. I’m rooting for you. I really am. Now, let me tell you about mine so far.
I woke up to blood curdling screams coming from downstairs. It sounded like maybe I live in a war-torn country, or in the middle of a prison riot. I walked into the living room with bed head and great trepidation to find my two sweet, lovely children engaged in a vicious brawl over a big plastic ball. Limbs were flying, tears were flowing, outraged cries of injustice rang out, demanding that I restore fairness and equality to their woefully tragic worlds. They yelled over each other (at me) with their 20 fingers death gripping the coveted item at hand. It didn’t seem to help to logically point out that we have two of the big plastic balls. They both wanted THAT ONE. Somehow, I managed to pry their sticky, angry hands off of the ball, and kept them on opposite sides of the living room until their brain chemistry readjusted. I just had to stand between them, rocking my flannel pj pants and bed head, in a fighter stance for a few minutes. No biggie. I shook it off and suggested to my big kid that we go sledding later in the day. Mind you, I would have rather gotten a manicure and Starbucks, but family first and all that.
“Sure,” he said, “are we going to go to the hill we can walk to?”
“Hmmmm,” I said, “what if we take the car to the big one?”
I’m assuming cool mom points are coming my way for being selfless, fun and awesome — so I stand there smugly and stupidly waiting to be showered with love and undying affection. Instead….
“I NEVER GET TO PICK ANYTHING!!!!! WHY DO YOU GET TO DECIDE EVERYTHING???? ITS NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!” Dramatic crying, and throwing himself onto a nearby chair follows.
Um, ok. I’m afraid to even drink the coffee I have managed to procure because now I’m suspicious it has been spit in or poisoned.
A few minutes later he huffs and puffs his way over to me and looks up at me with a mad, scrunched up little face. “You know, it’s my birthday,” I say to him.
“That’s exactly whats wrong! Why do you get to do whatever you want just because it’s your BIRTHDAY!?”
A few minutes later I overhear my husband trying to get him to sign my birthday card while he flatly refuses to bend to the tyrannical regime he is imprisoned by. He WILL NOT give the evil dictator that suggested the big sledding hill a card. What the hell do we take him for? They march over awkwardly with my gift and his unsigned card. I’m sitting with my little lady on the couch, while she snuggles into my arm and smiles up sweetly at me. At least I seem to have her on my side for the moment. I start to open my gift (a very pretty pair of earrings) and she immediately bursts into tears when she seems them. “I WAAAAANNNNT THEM!!!!!!!” “I WANT ONE!” “WHERE’S MINE?! GIVE IT TO ME!!!!” “ITS NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY, ITS MY BIRTHDAY! I WANT IT TO BE MY BIRTHDAY!!!!”
Oh wait, I forgot the part where the husband is leaving in a few hours for a last minute business trip to Florida. So, as luck would have it, soon this little slice of domestic heaven would all be mine.
Luckily, the day had no where to go but up and I felt cautiously optimistic about the rest of it. We went sledding at “the hill we can walk to,” and since the big kid is a 6 year old boy, he wanted me to pelt him with snowballs, and crash into him with a sled over and over again. That was kind of nice….basically like free therapy. And when we got home, the little one passed out on the couch watching Americas Funniest Videos, which freed me up to drink some tea and write the cautionary tale of the mom birthday.
Later, my little thugs and I watched Big Hero 6 and have a frozen Costco pizza to celebrate in style. I’m hoping when I break the news to these little people that I don’t catch an elbow to the eye or get snuffed out with a pillow. Signing off from the trenches…..